A/N: The response to this story was just…oh my, words can't describe. AND it was only the prologue! It was actually quite intimidating. Sorry this was so late, second and third chapters are usually the hardest for me, but soon I shall get to the main plot and all will be well!
A few of you had some questions that I will answer right now. I apologize to all the slash fans out there, but this is not going to be a slash fic. I imagined a mentor/fatherly Harry when plotting this story.
As for Harry's unorthodox reaction to his old friends… I wanted to design his post-war psychology to fit my story needs and that was required. It will be explained a little in this chapter, and more over time.
One reviewer mentioned something that floored me. Wizards wouldn't be showing signs of aging at 30 something like I said Hermione did (even if it was only a little). I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the graying and small wrinkles were caused by a combination of academic stress and the war. I knew freshmen in high school that got gray hairs because of stress, so it's not completely unrealistic.
Occasionally there will be more Teddy and Harry flashbacks, but only when it parallels with something that's about to happen with the Odinson brothers. (Hint hint)
Disclaimer: I'll own Harry Potter and Avengers (and Thor) when pigs fly. Launch the catapults! Wait, what do you mean that's animal cruelty…no!
We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual weirdness and call it love.
- Dr. Seuss
C H A P T E R 2
Reawakening this time was more disorienting than ever before. The station was swirling around in a strange mix of white shades that made him nauseous and he had trouble telling whether he was standing upright or hanging upside down. All of this, he assumed, was caused by the suddenness of his death on the icy planet.
It took until about ten seconds after sitting up and awkwardly tilting back and forth where he sat that Harry felt he had enough control over his body to limp/amble over to the nearest bench and promptly collapse in an undignified heap.
With his cheek pressed up against the cool marble of the bench, Harry glanced around lazily, trying to regain his composure. His look around confirmed that he was indeed alone in the large station. Heaving a heavy sigh, he sat up and ran a hand through his hair, messing it up more than it already was. His other hand drifted off to his side to rest on the bench beside him, only to be impeded by something rectangular and made of cardboard.
Blinking slightly in surprise, Harry stared at the pizza box that Death had left on the bench. Idly he wondered if food could go bad in the station before quickly shaking the thought out of his head and snatching up the box. It weighed more than it would have if it were just an empty box, so Harry decided to open it.
Opening it, of course, revealed something he wasn't quite expecting. Neatly folded on the inside of the surprisingly clean and not-greasy box lay his invisibility cloak. Carefully, he reached in and pulled up a handful of the silken liquid-like fabric, if only just to make sure it was actually there.
Several things fell out of the cloak at that moment, one clattering noisily to the floor by his feet. Looking down, Harry could see the elder wand as it rolled to a stop by the toe of his shoe. The strangely knotted wood let off a spark or two before becoming still once more.
Fluttering down slowly to land beside it, a small folded piece of parchment drifted rhythmically through the air. It was acting as if it had been caught by a non-existent breeze.
Right before it could land on the floor he snatched it out of the air, glancing briefly at the loopy script that spelt out his name on the front, before unfolding it. A quick peek at the bottom revealed that it was from Death – not that it could have been from anyone else.
'Dear Master,' the letter began, although Harry had to squint just to make sure he could correctly read the insanely neat, curving loops that made up Death's handwriting.
'I thought I might as well give you back your things. Gifts are meant to be kept by the person to whom they're given, after all, even if they were originally intended for your ancestors. The stone will be staying here, but we have already established your reluctance at summoning back the dead so all is well (although if you truly need it then it will come). I do hope you have enjoyed your brief jaunt through Jötunheim, excuse their rude behavior, they are a people ravaged by war, but you know what that's like. Just remember my earlier words, the ones about judging a place so soon. You always find the strangest things after taking a second look. Anyways, that is all I am willing to say for now, I wish you the best of luck wherever you may go. Death.'
Well that was…informing, Harry thought as he reread the letter several more times. Somewhere deep down he was seething at the fact that Death knew he was going to die so soon and violently, but he was soon calmed by reason. It's not as if it was permanent after all.
"So," he whispered out loud, "he wants me to go back." Harry really doubted that he'd find anything after taking a "second look". The entire place had been an icy wasteland and he didn't exactly blend in with the natives. The giant, blue, skin-like-ice natives.
The sharp whistle that signaled an oncoming train pierced through his inner thoughts and caused him to look up. The icy silver and blue train from before came to an immediate halt on the tracks closest to him.
"That's strange," he murmured, "there was no Hogwarts Express this time."
As the doors flew open and the announcer spoke the same message as before Harry made a snap decision. Gathering up his cloak and wand, he turned around and marched without hesitation to board the train. If he died again he could just get on a different train after all.
Quickly he lowered himself in his seat and took a minute to wrap the cloak around his shoulders for warmth and to tuck away his wand into a holster on his arm. He watched as the heavy metal doors slammed shut and jolted as the train began to bumble out of the station.
A few seconds more and the train careened into the tunnel of light that would take Harry back to the icy monstrosity called Jötunheim.
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Laufey glared down at the being he had just slain with his intense red eyes. It was small and hadn't put up a fight. If he didn't know any better, Laufey would have thought that it was a human.
Although, the way that it had appeared out of nowhere surely proved that it wasn't human. After all, they weren't intelligent enough to travel to other planets. But he was small, especially by Jötun standards. Laufey could not for the life of him remember ever seeing an Asgardian as small as him on the battlefield before – the smallest being about six foot three and in his late teens – and for some reason, Laufey didn't think the boy was of Asgardian descent either. They weren't usually this pathetic.
Laufey sneered in disgust down at the deplorable boy. He didn't know why he was wasting his time.
Just as he was about to step over the strange boy and go back out to the main battlefield – where Odin was fighting atop his sleipnir – a tiny movement on the body caught his eye.
His red eyes widened in shock as he watched the skin mend itself back together, leaving behind only a thin white scar. Without thinking, Laufey placed his fingers against the pulse point on the boy's neck, checking to see if he had somehow survived the deadly stab, careless of the frostbite his touch left behind. There was no pulse.
A quick inspection of the boy's body showed that it was littered with scars of various sizes. Some covering vital parts, like the heart and one at the base of the throat. His stab had punctured the lung.
In one quick motion, the body lunged up from the ground, causing Laufey to rear back a little (not in fear mind you, this is Laufey we're talking about).
The boy gasped for breath, chest heaving rapidly with the effort. He released a small gagging noise, air unable to pass through the blood pooled in his throat and lungs. In less than a second he had rolled onto his knees and began hacking loudly.
Blood sprayed onto the surrounding ice, coating it thickly with the crimson liquid. His arms shook with the effort of holding up his thin frame and the last remains of the blood dripped down from his lips. The image was decidedly a creepy one. One that might have been put in a cheesy horror film back in the muggle world if a penniless director had spotted it.
When the blood had stopped coming up with each attempted breath and he could breath just fine, Harry flopped himself onto his back, just a few inches from the now-frozen pool of red. This was definitely one of his worst wake ups.
Laufey watched warily as the eyes, far greener than anything on Jötunheim or Asgard, scanned the area and stopped on him. It was an odd feeling, looking into those eyes. It was almost as if they were judging his very existence and exposing all of his secrets.
It was not a good feeling.
"What are you?" the words had flown out of Laufey's mouth before he could register them. Slightly stunned from his momentary loss of control and egged on by the inquisitive stare he received from the boy, Laufey continued, "Are you of Asgard?"
Harry's mind was still slightly muffled from his return to the land of the living and he found it slightly difficult to concentrate on what the not-so-friendly blue giant was growling at him. "…No?" He didn't mean to, but it came out as more of a question than a response.
That just seemed to anger him though.
"Are you or aren't you? It's as simple as that!" Laufey didn't exactly yell, but his voice rumbled out menacingly.
"So you are not then?"
"No. At least, I don't think so. Is that a place?"
Laufey didn't deign him with a response. Instead he began looking him over, trying to see if he had any unusual characteristics.
"How is it that you revived yourself from death?"
Harry could see the disturbing red of Laufey's eyes as he stared intently at his face. He knew that he couldn't lie to him, he would see right through it, but he didn't exactly want to explain the truth. Not the whole truth and especially not to a particularly evil-looking stranger.
"Death has never…held dominion over me." He claimed, carefully choosing his words to not give away too much.
"An immortal?" At Harry's nod he continued, "Are there more of you?"
"I am the only one of my…my kind." It was true, he didn't know if humans existed in this world, or realm, or whatever.
"So you are a deity then?" Harry didn't speak, but he did glare at the thought of being a deity. Something worshipped to the point where it was just insane. He had never enjoyed the hero worship of being the Boy-Who-Lived. Unfortunately, his glare was misinterpreted.
"By the scars I will make the guess that you are the deity of war. Have you ever lost?" Laufey's mind was thinking a mile a minute. He wasn't overly confident when it came to the existence of sacred beings. Sure they had a temple of worship, but it was almost never used during times of war – which was almost all of the time. The idea of having a sacred being – especially one that specifically controlled the tide of war – was tempting, and Laufey was fully willing to utilize this opportunity in any way possible.
Harry just stared, unsure on how to answer. "I have lost battles, and I have lost my companions, but I have never lost a war." He didn't know why he didn't immediately deny being a deity or admit that he had only fought one war (technically two, but because the second one was also started by Voldemort he counted them as one), but he did understand that this conversation was important, vitally so, and would affect his future immensely.
Laufey just smiled, a cruel vile twist of the lips over sharp teeth. "That's good. I am called Laufey" the blue giant now dubbed Laufey gave a small bow of the head in a way that could only be considered mocking, "and you're coming with me."
Before Harry could react a large blue fist slammed into the back of his head and he collapsed to the ground. His vision began to fade, black spots dotting themselves in his eyes. As he lay there on the brink of consciousness one last and important thought flitted into his mind. Where the bloody hell are the Hallows?
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A large blue guard roughly shoved him through the arched opening of the sacred temple. His feet slid precariously across the ice as he struggled to keep his footing on the glassy smooth floor. All of his effort was immediately put to waste though, when the toe of his shoe was caught in a carved runic indentation, sending him crashing down.
The momentum from the sudden stop threw his body forward and sent him careening on his belly across the ice until he smashed head first into a large altar that was carved up directly from the ice.
With blurry vision, Harry tried to get a good look at his surroundings, years of warfare with people constantly trying to kill him taking its toll and forcing him to find all of the potential escape routes. Doors, vents, windows, anything he could squeeze into would work, especially with his slighter body frame.
His paranoid musings were cut short when the guard hauled him up by his covered elbows and bodily placed him on top of the altar. It took only seconds before Harry could feel the cold bite of ice as his bare wrists were shackled with long chains that attached to the floor on either side of the altar.
Throughout the entire manhandling process, the guard had never once looked up to meet his face. The fear of incurring the wrath of an immortal – now sacred – being was evident in the Jötun's posture. Apparently that didn't translate to physical treatment though, Harry grouched internally as he began to feel bruises from the ice form under his shirt. After all, deities are supposed to be tough and durable, which Harry – though he likes to think it – was most definitely not. There was also the fact that that might have actually been gentle treatment, but the Jötun were all just so HUGE! They probably weren't used to holding back their strength.
The way the unnamed Jötun moved as he turned to walk out of the room could only be described as predatory and tribal, the gait of an experienced fighter, and one who knew the battlefield well. The temple room was enormous, at least to Harry, but it still only took a few more long strides before the Jötun finally vanished through the archway that he had just been pushed through.
Unsure of exactly what he was supposed to do, Harry spent the next several minutes watching his breath cloud as he exhaled. A sudden shiver ran down his spine, causing his body to start trembling, as if just realizing how cold it was.
A quick glance towards his shackled wrists revealed what he already knew, his skin was a deep purple, quickly turning blue. His blood wasn't moving fast enough through his veins for him to maintain any semblance of warmth.
Harry wasn't keen on dying again so soon, especially since he had yet to see what Death had wanted him to. With a silent growl – something he really didn't do often enough, but really thought he should (it would make him seem like more of a threat…not that he wasn't, but nobody else knew that) – he practically spat out the name of a warming spell that Hermione had used a lot when they were travelling through the woods together.
He could feel his magical core as it began to leech magic from the air and ice around him. In mere seconds his body had heated to a bearable temperature, although it still wasn't all that warm. At least he wasn't going to freeze to death.
A shuttering breath that released massive clouds of foggy breath into the air was the only physical reaction that Harry allowed to show from the strain of the wandless spell. His wrists were now their normal pale color, slightly pinked from the new temperature.
Harry had half hoped that the Elder wand would appear in his hand when he began to do his spell, but it was still stuck in his mind – as odd as that sounded – and he had no idea on how to get it out. At least he hoped it was. How horrible would it be if it had randomly appeared somewhere else on Jötunheim?
With nothing to do and a completely exhausted body, Harry crossed his legs in a crisscross fashion and straightened his back. He cupped his palms together before placing them in the center of his lap and slipping his eyes closed in meditation.
The silence of the sacred room was like a blessing to Harry as he cleared away all of his thoughts and slowly drifted out of the reality that he had been brutally thrown into. His breathing evened out into deep, slow breaths that matched with the rhythm of a hypnotic flame that he conjured up in his mind's eye.
Patiently he waited for the familiar darkness to permeate his mind and cloak his entire being in tranquility. This was not his first time in meditation, far from it. After the defeat of Voldemort and the months of warfare that followed after, meditation had been one of the only things that had kept him sane.
Wizards weren't really intelligent, especially when it came to warfare. The defeat of the leader did not necessarily mean the end of the war. It was more like the saying 'you may have won the battle, but you have not won the war.'
Many of the inner circle had stepped up to fill the void left by Voldemort's demise. The remaining Death Eaters still had control of the Ministry by being untouchable wealthy figures of high ranking society.
All of the intelligence that Voldemort had had, the strategies he could come up with, the knowledge of the most forbidden of dark arts, was sullied and almost pathetic in the hands of his followers. They didn't have what it took to be as thorough a leader as He had been, but they made up for it with their brutality, often engaging in guerilla warfare and attacking only small seemingly unimportant places that slowly crippled the side of the light.
After it had all ended, and the light had smothered out the darkness, Harry found no peace.
The medics had called it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition for which there was no actual cure. He was hyper-vigilant, never trusting anyone he didn't already know (and even some he did). His body began involuntarily twitching, almost resorting to seizure-like spasms when he found himself in an overly crowded area. At night he had trouble falling to sleep, tossing and turning restlessly. Those few nights when his body finally shut down from exhaustion were filled with nothing but memories and nightmares of the war, with even a few memories from his time with the Dursley's thrown in. To sum it all up, it was hell.
The medics had recommended the meditation to help him organize his thoughts and calm his reactions to the presence of others. They said that many people suffered from past traumas and they all found their own ways to cope.
Harry's had been isolation. The less people the better. He had found the most isolated manor from a list of properties he had inherited from his parents and placed it under a fidelius charm with Andromeda as the secret keeper.
Ron had a tendency to blab out things he shouldn't, which was why he couldn't be the secret keeper and Hermione didn't exactly understand his need to be alone. She had been shunned throughout a good portion of her first year at Hogwarts and developed a small inability to cope with the sense of loneliness that he currently craved. He loved her to death, but she would have told others who she thought would have been able to help him, which just wouldn't do.
Andromeda, who had lost all family bar her own grandson – and Harry's godson –, had been the perfect choice. She was a Black, someone who could keep secrets, and she was loyal to the light and would never allow anyone to hurt him.
Less than a month later she gave him Teddy. The years that followed were filled with a less introverted Harry and a happy family dynamic that he had never before been privy to. Several years later he had given Andromeda permission to give the location to Hermione, who had been wheedling for it. Unfortunately, while he was getting better he still wasn't ready to be around other people, so he mostly kept away from his old friends.
A glowing green light flickered on amidst the blackness of his blank thoughts, showing Harry his core. The little waves of energy were all balled together in a mass, occasional tendrils reaching out as if to touch him before being yanked back in.
The ball shuddered. It was tired. Warming charms were ongoing and while summoning it without a wand was the most draining part, the upkeep of the spell prevented the core from recovering the energy it lost.
Harry's mental him frowned; he would have to work on his magical stamina if he was going to have to keep on living without his wand. His core pulsed as it naturally pulled in the magic from the planet around him like a child with a blanket. That was good, at least. Harry was just glad this planet was so full of untapped wild magic. Most of the magic from his old home had been used and tampered with to such a degree that it was next to impossible to take any from the natural resources without destroying them.
Silently Harry reached out with a mental finger and gave the core a quick prod. The area he poked quivered and thrummed at the familiar touch before brightening and shedding the entire dark area with light. It grew brighter and brighter, preparing to show him his personal mindscape where he had stored all of his most sacred memories and his darkest thoughts. Harry hoped that he would find the Elder wand and invisibility cloak there.
Just as he began to make out shapes in the blinding light, noise from the temple jarred him out of his meditative trance and snapped him back to reality.
The heavy tread of Laufey echoed ominously throughout the room, forcing Harry to watch warily from his seat on the altar. Resting in Laufey's heavily muscled blue arms was a cloth bundle, which was enough to send warning bells blaring in Harry's head. A sense of déjà vu briefly overtook him. This was too much like when Andromeda brought him Teddy.
Laufey gracefully strode to the exact center of the temple, an area heavily filled with runic carvings that Harry couldn't identify. Carefully he bent over and dropped the small bundle to the floor before standing up and looking directly into Harry's poison green eyes. He was not a Jötun who feared the divine.
"Who is that?" Harry couldn't hold back the curiosity that seemed to seep into every pore of his being. His voice came out with its normal aristocratic, even tone that he reserved for people he didn't want to talk to, but had to anyway.
Laufey looked towards the bundle with a glare before looking back at him. "That," he hissed, "is my son."
That was strange, why would he bring his son here? Harry voiced the question and was answered without hesitation.
"Surely you can see that he is a runt." Laufey snarled. "Keeping something so small and pathetic is a sign of weakness. Weakness is something I can't show. So I have brought him here to you as a sort of offering, do with him what you like." Laufey turned to walk away.
"You're leaving him to die!" Harry exclaimed.
"He'll die on the battlefield anyway! The tiny ones don't last." With those words Laufey stormed out quickly, not once looking back at his neglected child.
Immediately Harry scrambled off of the altar, the chains clanking loudly as they dragged against the ground. He dropped down to his knees right beside the infant and carefully reached out to move the brown cloth that covered the baby's face.
He was met with the sight of the soft-looking blue skin that every frost giant possessed. Carefully, Harry placed his hand against the freezing forehead, running his fingers down across the lines of facial markings and towards the neck to feel for a pulse. It wouldn't surprise him if Laufey had already killed him.
A tiny pulse thrummed under his fingertips and he sighed in relief. The infant made a small huffing noise as he breathed through his nose. Slowly his red eyes, heavy from sleep, blinked open blearily.
Instincts from years of god-fatherhood that could never be forgotten kicked in and Harry snatched up the baby and cradled him in his arms. Harry cooed down at the baby, which was about the average size of a human newborn.
The little boy giggled up at him, wide, toothless smile plastered on his tiny face. Harry started as magic suddenly began to cocoon around the infant, coming to him as naturally as breathing.
Within a fraction of a second, the baby's blue skin turned to a creamy peach color and the small mop of hair on top of his head turned into ebony locks. The most startling feature, the deep red eyes, changed into pale green, almost blue ones.
Once again the baby giggled up at Harry, this time laughing at the look of shock that had plastered itself on his face. The baby had used magic, magic, to turn itself into almost a carbon copy of Harry with little to no effort.
Harry had most certainly not seen any of the other Jötun use magic. He suspected that there might be some, but not any with this much power. The infant was a miracle, surely. He was unique, special, this baby was-
"Weird." Yah that about summed it up, but then again Harry was weird as well. As he cradled the tiny being up to his chest he couldn't help but feel that this was what Death had been saying he needed to find.
The metamorphosis had reminded Harry of all of his past godchildren, who constantly transformed their features with their metamorphmagus abilities.
The feeling of purpose and the need to care for the young one was almost too much for Harry to handle. Time seemed to freeze around them as Harry held him in his arms, murmuring soothing nothings to lull him back to sleep.
For just one brief moment since Harry had entered Jötunheim everything felt perfect.
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Faraway on the icy plane of Jötunheim an old man – considered a god amongst humans – fought valiantly through hordes of Jötun, unaware of what fate had in store for him.
STORY EXTRA (As an apology for the late and short-ish chapter…P.S. this doesn't actually happen, it's just for fun)
The random – completely unimportant – grunt of a Jötun poked and prodded at the motionless body in front of him. It was a strange being, awfully small in a way that pretty much yelled I-AM-NOT-AN-ASGARDIAN, for the entire world to hear.
The Jötun gasped as right before his eyes the stab wound he had inflicted on the being was healed. He quickly leaned in to examine the body, yes body – for it was definitely totally, completely and utterly dead as the ice that could be found everywhere in Jötunheim and was in no way still alive. A quick glance confirmed it. The body wasn't breathing and the being was definitely not alive, but still-
Just as the Jötun began to stand back up the apparently-no-longer-a-corpse's hand shot out and clenched tightly onto his front, inadvertently yanking him down as it tried to gasp in a ragged breath.
The Jötun couldn't help but scream (Hey! It was a manly scream!) out in shock and launch himself backwards as the being spent the next minute hacking up the blood that had pooled in his lungs. The snow around the curled up and agonized being was stained red from the blood, making for an eerie scene.
Tentatively the Jötun reached out with his blade of ice and…slayed the being again. And again. And again. And a- with lightning quick reflexes the being launched itself to the side to avoid the oncoming blow.
It looked at him with its never-before-seen impossibly green eyes, which were wide in both exasperation and shock. "Stop bloody killing me!" It yelled out, voice echoing in the open air, "If it didn't work the first four times why the bloody hell do you think it would work a fifth?"
Well, the strange being had a point, "What are you strange creature? Surely you are not of Asgard." As far as he knew no Asgardian could recover from a deathblow.
Nope, he was definitely not from Asgard. They were far too prideful to pretend like they didn't know where their own home was.
"Never mind." The two just stared at each other with wide eyes, both breathing deeply and clutching their chests from the shock of the earlier transactions.
Suddenly, an idea popped into the Jötun's head. It was kind of crazy but it seemed like a good idea. "Hey! Do you want to be my pet?"
Harry choked on his spit. "NO!"
A/N: And there you have it. I actually dreamt the last part…it's kind of sad actually.
This chapter was un-beta'd! I forgot to mention my permanent beta for everything TheDhampir. If you're a fan of TVD go read her stories.
Sorry that the chapter length is shorter than normal, but no matter what I did with this chapter it would not come out right. I had to right it backwards because the beginning wasn't coming along and I wanted to get the chapter out. In the future, expect chapters to be at least 5500 words.
I started school…am in a creative writing class…have loads of time to come up with future chapters. :D
Please review! They were all so amazing last time it made me want to try my best and get this chapter out!